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5 Secret Writing Tactics Winning Companies Don’t Want You To Know

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 13, 2017 7:06:28 AM / by Jenn Farr

Selling in writing is different than selling in person, it’s about influencing the decision process and the decision maker with what you put on paper.

shutterstock_375473497.jpgThe proposal revenue pipeline is as important to an organization as the sales revenue pipeline. Proposals are sales tools that should be treated as part of the sales process. Learning how to write to influence - and 'sell' your message - is as important as learning how to be compliant. These two skills go hand-in-hand (selling on paper + being compliant = higher chances you’ll win big).

  1. Think about what it will take to win before you start writing, and what content you need to achieve the highest evaluation score.
  2. Research the client's website, find out what their Core Values, Mission, Vision and Priority Statements are, then find a way to weave your client's primary messages (via keywords) into your own content.
  3. Meet with Sales to obtain client-specific information. Comb your internal CRM to identify client pain-points. Make sure to address them in your proposal via your own services, value-adds, differentiators, etc.
  4. Constantly ask yourself 'so what?' and 'why does this matter?' and 'what is the benefit to the client' with each piece of content you are crafting. If you can’t answer those questions (from your client’s perspective) then you aren’t using the right content or your message won’t get across.
  5. Be bold without being abrasive. Use confident language. Avoid ‘soft’ words that don’t really mean anything, like the words ‘some’, ‘can’, ‘might’ - client’s see right through these messages. For example, we’ve provided a bad message, a good message, and the best message below.


What is the Real Message?

“Some benefits of our solution could include…” - Bad

See Point 4 above - So what? The word “some” makes it looks like the solution has only one or two possible benefits. The word “could’ is off-putting because it means that a client might or might not be able to take advantage of only some of the benefits.

“What follows are the benefits of our solution…” - Good

See Point 4 above - Why does this matter? In this message we are being too generic. It reads as if we are listing all of the benefits, but maybe they don’t all matter. Don’t make the client read through an exhaustive list of generic benefits. Focus on what does matter, what will get their attention.

“Our solution benefits you the client because it delivers XYZ, which maps directly to your needs for ABC. We do this by delivering on XXX which helps you realize XXX lightning fast…” - Best

See Point 4 above - What is the benefit to the client? This message hits it on the head. It’s customized to this one client so it answers the ‘so what’ and the ‘why does this matter’ questions because it delivers the specific benefits that the client needs to see. We don’t say the solution “can” or “might” solve a business need, we say that the solution DOES and then we show them how. See the difference?

Good Sales Teams know that RFP's are coming well before they are issued so get Sales involved early. There is a Proposal Management stage between the Bid/No Bid meeting and the proposal response development (the Writing stage) - this is the Kick-Off. The Kick-Off meeting is the most important opportunity for Sales to hand-off all the information about the client that they have gathered through their meetings leading up to the RFP being issued. Use the Sales resource to augment the notes in your internal CRM. If they don't have any information to pass along, that's a big red flag and needs to be addressed.

Need some inspiration, take a look at the following article “101 Win Themes For All Occasions” and get in touch with us. We can walk you through the art of selling in your proposal, and get you winning those bids.

Topics: Proposal Management, Proposal Writing, Winning Bids, Selling

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